Monday, August 29, 2011

Democracy and the Public University: Noam Chomsky


 Just as a warm up the engines... 

It is always a pleasure attending a lecture by Noam Chomsky.  On Friday April 8th, at Carleton University, Dr. Noam Chomsky presented Democracy and the Public University; A Moderated Discussion.

Watch Lecture

Noam Chomsky received his Phd in linguistics in 1955 from the University of Pennsylvania. The major theoretical viewpoints of his doctoral dissertation appeared in the monograph Syntactic Structure, 1957. This formed part of a more extensive work, The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory, circulated in mimeograph in 1955 and published in 1975. Chomsky joined the staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955 and in 1961 was appointed full professor. In 1976 he was appointed Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. Chomsky has lectured at many universities here and abroad, and is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Myth of the Extraordinary Teacher

Yes, we need to get rid of bad teachers. But we can't demand that teachers be excellent in conditions that preclude excellence.

"The kid in the back wants me to define "logic." The girl next to him looks bewildered. The boy in front of me dutifully takes notes even though he has severe auditory processing issues and doesn't understand a word I'm saying. Eight kids forgot their essays, but one has a good excuse because she had another epileptic seizure last night. The shy, quiet girl next to me hasn't done homework for weeks, ever since she was jumped by a knife-wielding gangbanger as she walked to school. The boy next to her is asleep with his head on the desk because he works nights at a factory to support his family. Across the room, a girl weeps quietly for reasons I'll never know. I'm trying to explain to a student what I meant when I wrote "clarify your thinking" on his essay, but he's still confused".

If you "terrified" by this introduction, read the full article, signed by Ellie Herman on July 31, 2011 at Los Angeles Times (Ellie Herman is a teacher at Animo Pat Brown Charter High School in South Los Angeles).  
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-herman-class-size-20110731,0,3910343.story